The 2022 Citizen Team Lineup
Team “Inclusive Spaces”
The sights and sounds of a festival or any large scale event can be very overwhelming, especially when there’s nowhere to retreat to. Think of a Mardi Gras Parade…you’ve been standing all day, the music hasn’t stopped, you may be hungry, cold…hot…like you want to crawl out of your skin…You don’t want to leave the parade for good but your brain is telling you: I just need a minute!! Or, what if you are in a wheelchair and need to change, but there’s no accessible changing station close by? This is where Team Inclusive Spaces comes in.
Team Inclusive Spaces will team up with that particular event to provide an inclusive space for ALL to rest, refresh, and decompress before enjoying more of the event. At these designated spaces, there will be sensory tents (hello shade and decreased noise), sensory bags to be given out (think fidgets, sunglasses, earplugs, gum), calming activities (art, sensory bins, and bubble machines) and much more to ensure that those who may be overwhelmed or just need a break can still experience and enjoy their time.
One key (and hopeful) feature of the space will be to provide a changing area for individuals who are in wheelchairs or still have difficulty with bowel and bladder control. There will be a designated tent (not necessarily at the main location) that can still provide the appropriate accommodations and autonomy that everyone else has at an event. We all need and deserve an opportunity to take a break and chill at large scale events. To date, there is nothing like this in our community. The Beluga Project, in conjunction with Festival International, helped create the first space like this at Festival in April 2022. The positive feedback we received throughout and the call to do more of this is apparent, however, we need funding to make this space work over and over, not just one time. From durable tents, to filling the sensory bags, we need our community to help make this happen…one inclusive event at a time. Thank you 24 Citizen Project for helping make this happen!
Team “Farm Love”
Acadiana is truly blessed to have some of the best farmers around, who are the critical starting point of all of our wonderful local cuisine From bell peppers to satsumas, our local farmers give the flavor to the iconic cajun and creole culture. An annual event designed to showcase those farmers, and applaud them with a mix of local artists and talent, will be a small token of appreciation for the immense amount of hard work and dedication needed for these farmers to keep us all fed. This event will bring out community partners, home cooks, professional chefs, family members, friends, and of course – the farmers! Let’s show the local farm rockstars some LOVE and celebrate what makes our local food so special! #farmlove
Team “Community Tool Library”
The community tool library would consist of regular household and auto maintenance tools such as lawn mowers, socket wrenches, drills, car jacks, etc. and would also include less often needed tools such as chainsaws and power washers. There would be an opportunity to add other household tools that don’t get utilized often and take up a lot of storage space such as sewing machines and stand mixers. There are many benefits to having access to a community resource like this. Community building. This is a practical application of how mutual aid works. There is an opportunity for the community to share not only their physical tools, but their knowledge on how tools function, how to maintain tools, and DIY workshops.
Support disaster response. A lot of people look at ways to get tapped into disaster relief after hurricanes and other severe weather events and this can act as a volunteer and resource hub in those times. Having a community resource will provide an opportunity for all to pitch in and help each other. Cost benefits. You shouldn’t need to purchase a tool and only use it a handful of times over your lifetime while it sits in the shed and deteriorates. Not to mention, that isn’t even an option for many. This allows citizens to be more self-sufficient.
Space saver. A tool library is great for apartment dwellers and/or those who don’t have space to keep a bunch of tools. Community education. Workshops on how to use and maintain tools and how to build/repair things yourself can lead to basic skill building and provide opportunities for some entry level jobs.
Team “GPS Project”
1 in 5 adults in Louisiana have some college credit but haven’t earned a degree. Some reasons adults (or young adults) do not attend or complete college are:
- Lack of guidance/support
- Academic unpreparedness or
- Insufficient finances
High school guidance counselors desire to assist in this discovery process, but according to the American Schools Counseling Association, the ratio of guidance counselors to students in Louisiana is about 1:450.
We propose implementing a Guide to Post-Secondary (GPS) Curriculum at Northside High School to guide families through the college or trade school enrollment process. This curriculum includes workshops for parents & students such as:
- Career exploration
- Financial planning/management
- College/trade school
- Application college tours
- ACT prep
- Volunteering enrollment
9-12 grade students and their parents will matriculate through a series of workshops to foster conversations and thought processes about their future and create a clear, purposeful plan with action steps that will lead to a solid decision to attend a 2-year, 4-year college or trade school.
Students and parents who complete this curriculum will develop strong communication with each other, as well as, develop a “village” with other families and support staff who will take the journey with them. The support staff would follow each student and family for at least two years after high school graduation.
Funds received from the 24 Hour Citizen Project will be used to award incentives as students complete each checkpoint. The first 10 students who complete the GPS curriculum will be awarded scholarships.
Heritage the web series has the potential to introduce Louisiana Creole culture to a younger generation who descended from this language group. The Creole language has a complicated past, and many who grew up in South Louisiana don’t speak it because the generations before had it forcibly stamped out of them both at school and at home so they would assimilate. Watching this web series could allow a people group to gain a connection to their ancestor’s language.
This web series would also fill a desire for dark-skinned Creole speakers’ representation in media. The cast in Heritage aims to break colorist stereotypes that exist about Louisiana Creole culture. This web series touches on Black communities and other minorities who grapple with the past. By offering a contemporary view of a Black teenager, the series would create relatability while exploring important themes that will speak to the audience and spark important conversations around language and identity in Louisiana.
Lafayette’s creative landscape is filled with filmmakers and crew members, new and established, looking for opportunities to use and hone their craft without having to travel to New Orleans or Baton Rouge to do so. This production would shoot locally, serving as an opportunity for Lafayette-based filmmakers and creatives to work, learn, and be paid in their own city.
Team “Seed Library”
The Healthy Acadiana Seed Library is a free program committed to increasing our community’s ability to feed ourselves wholesome food by offering seeds and education. Through the time-honored tradition of seed saving we celebrate biodiversity, nurture locally adapted plant varieties, and foster community resilience, self-reliance, and a culture of sharing.
The Seed Library operates on the honor system. You become a member automatically when you withdraw seeds to plant. We will encourage all members to save their seeds, donate them back to the library, and repeat.
Team “Inclusive Prom”
Inclusive Prom will offer a free opportunity for high schoolers in the Acadiana region to meet students from other schools and build community. Many teenagers in our area, including those who are LGBTQ+, will not be able to go to their proms as themselves or with the date of their choice. Inclusive Prom offers an opportunity for high schoolers who would benefit from an alternate prom experience to come together to celebrate their authentic selves and each other. This community event will benefit our community by creating a safe space for LGBTQ+ and other marginalized youth where they can be accepted as themselves, where they can see there are people in the community that support them, and where teenagers from different schools can meet, furthering a sense of community.
Inclusive Prom will be a free 3 hour event hosted at a local venue in Lafayette, open to all high school students in the Acadiana region. Music, dancing, and snacks will be offered. There will be a photo station offering free selfie opportunities and paid-for photo packages. By offering a safe and inclusive space for youth in the community to feel accepted as themselves, we hope to build up and support young people who may not have other sources of support.
The challenges facing youth today are unprecedented. There has been a dramatic increase in mental health concerns for teenagers. This is even more true in the LGBTQ+ community. According to the Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. LGBTQ youth who live in a community that is accepting of LGBTQ people reported significantly lower rates of attempting suicide than those who do not. By hosting this community event, we can hopefully help to reduce suicide rates of LGBTQ+ youth in our community by demonstrating a safe place of acceptance and support.
Team “Freetown Sound Lab”
The Freetown Community Sound Lab wishes to document 45 field recordings of 1st person community narratives and engage residents to be the author of their own stories. This initiative will teach residents not only to capture their own stories but will create a living capsule of cultural expression for years to come.